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Citibank SMRT Card – MoneySmart Review 2018

citibank smrt card - moneysmart review 2018

Joanne Poh

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You might think that SMRT is the source of all your problems, but that doesn’t mean you should refuse to sign up for the Citibank SMRT Card out of spite. Its name might make it sound like a glorified EZ-Link card, but it’s actually one of the better cashback credit cards available right now.

In fact, its benefits go beyond just MRT-related rebates. It’s one of the best cashback credit cards in Singapore with no minimum spend. Here’s what the Citi SMRT Card has to offer.

 

Citibank SMRT Card terms & conditions

Citibank SMRT Card
Annual fee & waiver $193 (waived for 2 years)
Supplementary annual fee First 2 free, subsequently $96.30
Interest free period 25 days
Annual interest rate 26.90%
Late payment fee $100
Minimum monthly repayment 1% or $50, whichever is higher
Foreign currency transaction fee 2.8%
Cash advance transaction fee 6% or $15, whichever is higher
Overlimit fee $40
Minimum income $30,000 (Singaporean) / $42,000 (non-Singaporean)
Card association Visa
Wireless payment Visa payWave, Samsung Pay, Citi Pay

 

Benefits of the Citi SMRT Card

Do you buy groceries at NTUC and assessment books at Popular? Do you eat fast food at McDonald’s and drink kopi at Toast Box? Does your idea of a nice evening out consist of coffee at Starbucks followed by a movie?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, congratulations, you’re just like 99.9999% of Singaporeans. The Citibank SMRT Card gives you 4.7% or 5% (if you hit the min. spend of $300) in rebates at these places.

Here’s a list of cashback benefits you can get with the Citi SMRT Card:

Spending category Cash rebate (spend <$300) Cash rebate (min. spend $300)
Groceries (NTUC, Giant, Sheng Siong) 4.7% 5%
Fast food (McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Burger King, PastaMania, Sakae Sushi) 4.7% 5%
Cafes (Starbucks, TCC, Coffee Bean, Coffee Club, Gloria Jean’s, Toast Box, BreadTalk 4.7% 5%
Movies (Cathay, Filmgarde, GV, Shaw) 4.7% 5%
Kids & pets (Popular, Toys ‘R’ Us, Pet Lovers Centre) 4.7% 5%
Town council bills 4.7% 5%
Online shopping (excludes travel) 2.7% 3%
EZLink reload amount >$30 1.7% 2%
Healthcare stores (Watsons, Guardian, Unity, Nature’s Farm, GNC) 1.7% 2%

It’s one of the rare online shopping cashback cards with no minimum spend. (The only other one is the Standard Chartered Spree card, which loses out slightly – only 2% cashback on local online spending.) However, you shouldn’t use this card for online travel bookings as it’s excluded from the online category.

Finally, it’d be stupid if an “SMRT Card” didn’t give you decent rebates for taking the MRT, and EZ-Link is indeed one of the cash rebate categories on this card.

When you get the card, it will automatically have EZ-Reload enabled on it. There’s no convenience fee for EZ-Reload auto top-up transactions, and you can get up to 1.7% or 2% (if you hit the min. spend of $300) in rebates. It’s not great lah, but we’ll take what we can get.

Important note: The automatic top-up value is $30. You need to manually change the amount to $40 or $50 to get the maximum cashback of 1.7%/2%. To do so, you have to go to the MRT station to get them to cancel the EZ-Reload, wait a few days, and then reapply on the EZLink website.

Who should use the Citibank SMRT Card?

By now, you should have noticed that many credit cards try to market themselves to the ambitious, aspirational middle class, promising that using that piece of plastic will make you look richer and more sophisticated. Many of these cards are also pretty much useless if you’re not dining at fancy restaurants or jetsetting every day.

That’s where the Citibank SMRT Card differentiates itself. This is a card for basic Singaporeans who are not interested in cultivating an atas lifestyle to impress their peers, and for young and budget-conscious families it also works as an all-purpose cashback credit card.

The wide range of everyday merchants makes it possibly one of the most practical cash back credit cards out there for cost-conscious Singaporeans looking to cut their expenses further, no matter the age.

The main drawback is that it doesn’t really reward you for some of the more extravagant expenses in life. For instance, air tickets and hotel stays are conspicuously excluded from their cashback offer for online shopping, as are restaurant dining and entertainment.

Alas, the cashback isn’t unlimited. It’s credited in SMRT$ and there’s a cap of $600 a year (average $50/month). It’s quite convenient to convert your SMRT$ to cashback though – you can redeem SMRT$ via SMS.

 

Alternatives to the Citibank SMRT Card

There are some other cards on the market geared towards lower spenders who’re just looking to get a bit of cashback on their everyday expenses, such as the following.

Maybank Family & Friends Card – This is another good one for grocery shopping as there’s a 5% rebate at NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage. You also get 5% rebate on bus and train rides, Grab, taxis and petrol, as well as fast food delivery from KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. There’s a higher minimum spend of $500 a month though. (And if you hit $1,000/month, your rebate goes up 8%.)

UOB Delight Card – This is another good one for groceries (Cold Storage, Market Place, Jasons, Guardian) and transportation – 8% cashback (min. spend $800/month) or 3% (min. spend $400). You also get 3% on contactless payments including bus, cabs, ERP and car park charges (min. spend $400). The obvious drawback is that cheaper supermarkets like FairPrice, Giant and Sheng Siong are not eligible for cashback.

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card – Get  5% on recurring mobile, cable TV and internet bills, and either 5% (if you spend $800/month for all 3 months in a quarter) or 3% ($400/month for 3 months) on groceries and petrol.

Frankly, though, the Citibank SMRT Card is probably still your best bet if you already live a low-key lifestyle and want to save even more money.

Bonus: If you get this card through MoneySmart by 31 Jul 2018, you will get $150 in CapitaVouchers – no questions asked, no minimum spend.

Citibank SMRT Card

Citibank SMRT Card


Card Benefits

    • Up to 5% savings on on Groceries. 4.7% (For transactions above $50. If transaction is $50 and below, 2.7% awarded instead) + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
    • Up to 5% savings on Fast Food, Movies & Coffee. 4.7% + 0.3% (if monthly card spend is at least $300)
    • Up to 3% savings on Online Shopping. 2.7% + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
    • Up to 2% savings on Health & Beauty. 1.7% + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300). Including GNC, Guardian, Nature's Farm, NTUC Unity Healthcare & Watson's
    • Up to 2% EZ-Reload Auto Top-up. 0.3% + 1.7% (If top-up more than $30. If $30 or less, 0.7% awarded instead)
    • Up to 5% savings for the following with monthly spend of at least $300. 5% at POPULAR Bookstores and Toys"R"Us, 5% at selected Town Councils for Service and Conservancy Charges, 1% savings on Telecommunication bills, 1% on selected Insurance providers, 1% on SPH Newspaper Subscriptions. If monthly spend is less than $300, SMRT$ earn rate will be 0.3% less.
    • Savings awarded in SMRT$. 1 SMRT$ = S$1 of vouchers. Vouchers available for Giant, Sheng Siong, Popular, Watsons, Shaw Theatres
    • 0.3% awarded on all other spend categories

    Do you have the Citibank SMRT Card? Share your reviews in the comments!

     

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    Joanne Poh

    In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.